A local clothing company will be relaunching a popular collection and helping out trauma victims at the same time.
Ventura County-based Beautiful Disaster Clothing has redesigned its famous Perfectly Imperfect collection. The new design features a large skull with a decorative bow, a diamond underneath it and the words, “You don’t know my story.” Merchandise featuring the new design will be released in June.
“Perfectly Imperfect . . . has been in the Beautiful Disaster brand for years,” explains founder Christina DuVarney. “It’s one of our best-selling collections. It was time to give it a facelift.”
The company partnered with Marina del Rey-based nonprofit Artists for Trauma (AFT) to create its launch campaign, which will include photos, videos and more. Some of that content was created during a very special photo shoot that took place on May 9 at the Lucky Dog Ranch in Somis, owned by AFT founder Laura T. Sharpe. Models wearing merchandise with the new Perfectly Imperfect design had their scars and other physical attributes decorated by Ventura-based glitter artist Alexis Baxley of Work of Heart (workofheartfacepainting.com), and pictures were taken by photographer Nicole Wise (also of Ventura; wisebynicole.com). Both women offered their time and talent free of charge. A portion of sales from the Perfectly Imperfect line will be donated to AFT.
The models used in the campaign came from Beautiful Disasters’ so-called tribe — which is largely made up of customers, but DuVarney says “anybody who is a fan or knows about us or feels a connection to us and our mission is part of our tribe.” She published a post on the company’s Facebook page looking for people who wanted to “celebrate [their] scars” — and got an overwhelming response.
Of the eight women who were ultimately selected (based on scheduling and other considerations), all had stories somehow written on their bodies. A tumor as a child left one of the models with a permanently altered face. Another has spots caused by vitiligo. One woman nearly died in a head-on collision, and later lost her house in the Thomas Fire. Yet another lives with a colostomy bag, which Baxley decked out with sequins, paint and glitter.
“It was for once a time she didn’t look at it with shame,” DuVarney says.
The models shared stories about their lives, their scars and that which made them “perfectly imperfect” — an idea that represents what Beautiful Disaster is all about.
“The Beautiful Disaster brand was, truthfully, born out of failure,” DuVarney recalls, speaking about the trials and tribulations she and co-owners Tory DuVarney and Jamie Vine have experienced since its founding in 2008 (including the move to a warehouse space in Oxnard in 2017 after an arson fire above Tipps Thai restaurant destroyed their Downtown Ventura boutique). “And it’s also true about the foundations of our customers. Us women are born out of failure; all of our foundations are laid, brick by brick, by failure and pain and trauma.”
Her mission with Beautiful Disaster is to “change the narrative around perfection . . . perfection doesn’t exist.”
It’s a message that resonates powerfully with her customer base.
“The Beautiful Disaster mission is to empower the beautifully broken and perfectly imperfect,” DuVarney says. “Women who identify with our brand wear it like a badge of honor. It’s meant to connect with women who have a past and a story and are still standing up tall. . . . So many women identify with being broken and having to reinvent themselves.”
That’s why DuVarney felt such a need to partner with AFT. Founder Sharpe was gravely injured in a helicopter crash on Catalina Island in 2008. It was a miracle that she survived, and the recovery process was grueling: four weeks in a coma, 43 broken bones, burns over more than 40 percent of her body, tremendous physical pain even years after the accident and numerous medical procedures. The arts became Sharpe’s salvation, and she founded AFT in 2011 to pair recovering trauma patients with established artists and help in their recovery process through, as the website states, “FUN, adaptive, artistic platforms designed to provide free of charge, evidence-based, interactive healing programs.”
DuVarney learned about AFT through Sharpe’s daughter, Skylar Sharpe Fahlman, who lives in Ventura (and was also a survivor of the helicopter crash). “Our kids go to school together,” she explains. DuVarney was amazed by Sharpe and her organization, and was excited to collaborate with AFT. “What they stand for and represent in the recovery for trauma survivors . . . they are incredible examples of healing and recovery.”
DuVarney notes that the Beautiful Disaster brand is about so much more than sales.
“It’s a way to connect with our community and empower these women. Equally as important, to share the stories of these incredible women who are part of the Beautiful Disaster tribe. These women are our brand. Everything we do is for them.”
Beautiful Disaster Clothing is available online at www.bdrocks.com. Warehouse sales are occasionally hosted at 1801 Holser Walk, Oxnard. Follow the company on Facebook for more information. For more information on Artists for Trauma, visit artistsfortrauma.org.